PALESTINE, Ark. — Right outside the small town of Palastine, Arkansas is one 12-year-old boy who stands out in his community.
"Everybody knows Matt."
Matt Parsons had been the only child in a wheelchair in his school district until this year, but that's not the only thing that makes him unique. Although he's just like any typical kid his age, sleeping in a room full or sports gear, playing video games and indulging in outdoor activities, his mother believed none of this was ever going to be possible after doctors told her she was unable to have children.
"Well I got pregnant and I was 12 weeks pregnant when I found out Matt had spina bifida."
Parsons is paralyzed from the waist down. He's broken his hip twice in the last two years and had a total of 22 surgeries in his entire life.
"If I try to stay on my legs for a long period of time it hurts my legs," he told WREG's Symone Woolridge.
But despite everything, he still perseveres. He has dreams and aspirations to be a police officer.
"I like that you don`t just like sit. You can actually go help somebody."
And now Parsons has the tools to do just that.
"I got this from the Palestine police station and this is the police plaque they gave me. And this is the state trooper plaque that the state troopers gave me."
You heard that right. Not even yet a teenager, but Parsons is an honorary officer for the Arkansas State Police and Palestine Police Department.
The city officers caught him by surprise last month at a city council meeting and they held a swearing in ceremony.
"I didn`t even know it but we were going to our church because we were just going to do something at church then they just surprised me."
Parsons' mother was an EMT so he has been surrounded by officers and other first responders since he was a baby. But his first real, most influential relationship with officers started on the football field as an assistant coach.
Parsons was a screaming voice on the sideline encouraging his brother. The football field is a place where he became inspired by the officers, who are now his mentors.
"We`ve pretty much accomplished anything that anybody else does."
Parsons loves his new job. He even makes sure his own family obeys the law.
"Before I got home I got a warning for speeding," said his mom.